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No Pylons Protest slams ESO 2030 blueprint for area

Protesters fear ‘a blitzkrieg of proposals’ will drastically change our landscape forever after a new blueprint for the country’s electricity system outlined a central role for this area.

Campaign group No Pylons Lincolnshire has hit out at the Beyond 2030 Blueprint, which outlines plans to improve the country’s energy transmission network, and has branded it as a ‘spider’s web of cables’ that will devastate the county’s landscape.

The ESO, a legally separate business within the ‘National Grid family’, said its proposals will improve the network to prevent ‘bottlenecks’ which waste renewable energy and stops it being moved to where it is needed.

Protesters hit out over plans for energy infrastructure plans
Protesters hit out over plans for energy infrastructure plans

Lincolnshire has its own section within these plans - which could see connections from offshore wind farms coming into the county and a high voltage substation.

Protesters from the No Pylons group, which was formed earlier this year to fight against the National Grid’s plans to install 87 miles of pylons that would snake their way through South Holland, are calling for a change of plan.

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Cat Makinson, of No Pylons Lincolnshire, said: “We’ll have a spider’s web of cables both over and underground all over the county and we’ll be living on a building site with traffic chaos for years.

“This is death by a thousand cuts. Bit by bit by bit National Grid and Government have revealed the devastation its plans will wreak on Lincolnshire, and still many questions remain unanswered. National Grid is sticking resolutely to its plan for 87 miles of huge pylons all the way through the county in the face of monumental protest from residents, MPs and local authorities and yet proposes mile upon mile of other new underground cables . There is no logic.

“We have said from the start that while we support net zero we do not favour overground or underground cables. We support the farmers and landowners dreading the upheaval, the damage to soil structure and the impact on growing crops in land heated by underground cables. We applaud the Prime Minister’s recent announcements regarding the importance of food security and the important part Lincolnshire plays with its superior land, much of it grade 1 and double cropping.

“Instead of using taxpayers' money to bribe landowners, the Government should use this money to fund an offshore integrated grid fit for the future, as other, more forward-thinking countries are already doing.”

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Battles over green energy projects have been raging in recent times – with fears raised that the area is becoming a ‘dumping ground’ for plans ranging from solar farms to a new reservoir.

The ESO says it was tasked by the Government to connect future offshore wind farms off the Scottish coast to the electricity grid – and that Beyond 2030 is the conclusion of the first phase of the planning cycle with more ahead.

It wants to create new offshore infrastructure along with a new ‘network spine’ to transfer green energy from Scotland across Britain.

The report states: “Lincolnshire’s position at the heart of the country means its suitable location to electrical host and transfer green energy either across the Midlands or to the south of the country. Our analysis shows there are suitable corridors to connect underground cables to the shore while avoiding protected marine areas and natural habitats.”

ESO, which is recommending that 420km of upgrades to existing infrastructure, says that the new plan does not included any additional pylons ‘within the vast majority of Lincolnshire’.

It states that it is looking to land offshore links from Scottish wind farms into the county. Lincolnshire was chosen as cables could not be landed in the Humber ‘due to electrical constraints, and landing cables in East Anglia was discounted due to significant marine constraints and offshore congestion with other more advanced infrastructure projects’.

There are also plans for ‘hub’ substation but the firm says the location has not been finalised along with a proposal for a high voltage substation – and this will form part of the Grimsby to Walpole pylons project.

Fintan Slye, Executive Director of ESO said: “Great Britain’s electricity system is the backbone of our economy and must be fit for our future. ESO’s Beyond 2030 network design outlines recommendations on the investment needed and how and where to coordinate the build of this new critical national infrastructure.

“To deliver the clean, secure, decarbonised system set out by Government and Devolved Governments we must take swift, coordinated and lasting action working collaboratively across all parts of the energy sector, government, the regulator and within our communities.”

What do you think? Are you concerned that our area is set to bear the brunt of new infrastructure? Let us know you views in the comments below...

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